Fostering the “health” in 4-H

The last “h” in 4-H stands for “health.” Explore suggestions to incorporate healthy living into 4-H club meetings and programming.

Head, heart, hands and health are the H’s in “4-H.” Health is a continued ongoing hot topic in regards to youth in the U.S. We have to do better job of relaying the message to our youth, encouraging them to be more active outside or involved in extra-curricular activities. Doing so ensures their health.

In Michigan 4-H club meetings, we can encourage healthy snacking, introducing a new way of life to someone who may not know how to eat healthy. There needs to be intentional behavior and reminders of healthy living incorporated into the everyday life of a 4-H’er and can be done in a variety of ways:  

  • Encourage 4-H projects surrounding healthy living to help spark interest amongst youth
  • Role modeling is the best way to encourage youth; if they see you doing it, then they will follow
  • Create a game that encourages youth to be active; once they are, deliver some fact about staying healthy
  • Create a health committee within your 4-H club; this committee could consist of youth that are charged with creating healthy snacks and maybe some physical activities that the club would benefit from
  • An idea for healthy living could be a healthy living 4-H club that would create healthy living activities for their community; from physical activity to food and safety – the ideas never end

Visit the Michigan State University Michigan 4-H website and explore the many topic areas from joining 4-H in your county, to an array of interest areas that may interest you and your family.

The health of our youth won’t improve overnight, but we must continue to be consistent with the push towards healthy living.

If you need ideas, look to your youth; they have great ideas to help develop great programs. As you continue to be all about 4-H, don’t forget the “health” – help bring it all together.

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